Night location: Lipari
Mumisode of the day: In an effort to locate the tyre pressure calibration reset, Gemma discovered that not only was the glove box refrigerated, but that it also contained a pair of stockings. Gemma initially thought that this was another disturbing feature of Fiorelli but then Mum exclaimed, "Oh, there they are! I was wondering where they got to!"
We woke to a clear blue sky which made our breakfast on the rooftop terrace even more beautiful as we could see Mount Etna puffing smoke just a little way up the coast. Breakfast was once again spectacular and it was really lovely to see such a different aspect to Taormina compared with the atmospheric experience yesterday.
After safely extricating Fiorelli down the spiral ramp, we took a wrong turn and went away from the autostrada towards a tiny village next to the seaside. Claudio (the name of Gemma's iPhone GPS, an illegitimate cousin of our 2011 GPS Claude) knew the quickest way to Mt Etna, but not necessarily the Fiorelli friendly way to Etna. Nevertheless, Dad drove intrepidly and avoided all obstacles with ease.
The landscape and the temperature changed dramatically as we ascended the volcano. As we rose, we were embraced by full, dark clouds that meant visibility was limited, however this only seemed to add to the dramatic environment. The road wove its way up through cumulative lava flows that were black and jagged yet somehow vegetation was sparsely growing. At the top thick ash was piled either side of the road. David leapt out of the van to check if the cable car was 'Amber friendly' but because it was constantly moving and wobbling, he deemed it unsafe. Amber and David stayed with the car while the others ascended a further 500m vertically up the volcano.
After disembarking all that could be seen was a vast and desolate landscape. The earth was completely covered with black rocks, fine sand and ash. Due to the elevation the clouds moved quickly and were sometimes fine and at others a dense, cold and wet sensation. Mum looked like she just stepped out of the shower and was quite put out as she had spent quite a lot of time primping this morning.
The rest of the day was spent driving to Milazzo where we boarded a ferry to Lipari. Driving past Messina we could clearly see the mainland of Italy across the sea. We have already fallen in love with Lipari. It has beautifully coloured buildings with multiple small pedestrian lane ways leading off in all directions. We are staying in what feels like a local part of the town close to the smaller harbour filled with cafés, shops and stalls advertising boat tours. Can't wait to explore more tomorrow!